Since I am trying to reorganize this blog and get it to be more focused to being a resource for new players to use, I wanted to go ahead and talk about my leveling strategies. You can apply all of these concepts to either faction, though you will notice that my specific examples will generally be geared more towards Horde than Alliance since that is my faction of choice.
Your First Ding (1-2)
One thing that I always do with any character when I first make them is to ignore the starting quest(s) and just go kill things until I level. You only have to kill 8 – 10 mobs before you get your first level, and if you start off fighting higher level mobs then it goes by faster.
There are a couple of reasons why I do this. First, the drops from these first kills will give you the money you need to train for your first new ability. While not everyone realizes it, every class starts off with 1 new spell that they can train already at level 1. It usually costs 9 copper to train it, which is usually two or three trash drops worth of sells. Second, I do this because the experience rewards from my quests then are already pushing me on towards higher levels.
It only takes about three minutes to kill enough mobs to get to level two, and then you can start questing to put that rewarded quest experience towards the levels that really matter.
Getting to Level 6 (2-6)
Before I get into the details, I want to note here that I do every single quest in my starting area on every character that I create.
The first item on this list is to go ahead and gather every quest available in the starting are and get to work doing them. I don’t bother rushing back to turn them in right after I finish one, I wait until I have all of them finished and then go back for the next round.
Again, I use this method for multiple reasons. First, I don’t have to waste time running back and forth after each quest, instead I finish everything that’s available to me and then turn them all in at once. Secondly, this gives me more time to grind some of the mobs in the area to earn extra experience on top of what I get for the quests themselves. And third, this gives me more drops to sell at each point to make sure I always have enough currency early on to purchase whatever I need.
The second item for this list is to make sure that you don’t avoid mobs simply for the sake of avoiding them. If you are headed from one area to another for questing, or you are on your way back to the town to turn quests in or sell your loot, go ahead and kill whatever mobs happen to be directly in your path on the way back. None of these lower level mobs take much time to kill, and all of them offer experience, and most offer loot as well.
While you may be able to turn quests in a bit faster by skipping these mobs, this is also a pretty sure way of making it out of your starting area at level 5 instead of level 6. That might not be a huge thing to most people, but the reason why I always leave the first area at level 6 is because you get new trainable skills at every even numbered level and I like to have those trained before I move on to the next area.
Your last quest in your starting area is always one that takes you into the next area.
When I reach this new area I generally go ahead and pick up my professions as soon as I get there. In some areas you might not have a trainer for the particular professions you want and will instead have to travel to the nearest major city to pick them up. I find Orgrimar and Ironforge to be the most annoying of these as they require a further traveling distance than the others.
When I pick my professions I don’t alway pick the ones that I want to stick with right away, especially if this is my first toon on a new server. Any time I am starting my first character on a server I pick Mining as one of my professions starting out. The reason why I do this is because it is the single most profitable profession starting out. I have never seen a server where a stack of 20 Copper Ore sells for less than 1.5g. On my new server, on the alliance side, a stack of 20 Copper Ore sells for 44g. And no, that’s not an exaggeration or a lie. On the Horde side, which is much less populated than the Alliance, the same amount of ore sells for about 2.3g.
Since you will be around Copper nodes for so long, I would not suggest smelting copper for the sake of leveling the skill. if you need it for another profession, then go ahead an do it. But if you want to sell the copper, then it is more profitable to sell as the ore than it is the bars. That rule changes for some of the other ores, but I have never seen copper bars sell for more than copper ore.
If I already have a main character on the server that can provide gold for starting out, then I go ahead and just pick up the professions I want and get started with them. If that is not the case though, then I start off with the gold making route to give me a good place to start off.
As far as secondary professions are concerned (Cooking, First Aid, Fishing), I typically only pick up Cooking starting out. Sometimes I pick up First Aid, and sometimes I don’t. I have never found it overly useful, though other people certainly have. Classes with pets tend to have good use for First Aid, as do paladins that like to pull more mobs than they should, allowing them to use their bubble and bandage while they are immune to everything.
Getting to Level 12 (6-12)
In the second questing area I again do every single quest for every character that I make. The reasons here are twofold. First, you generally end up with reasonable starting gear for your character, and second because you build up a good deal of reputation with your major city, which ends up reducing the prices you have to pay for items you buy.
Because you are now working in a much larger area, compared to the starting area, you end up doing quite a bit of traveling during this stage, and it generally has you going back and forth several times across the map. Whether or not that is the case really depends on which race you chose and which area you are going to be questing in.
For Horde characters, I prefer to level in either the Blood Elf or Orc/Troll areas because of the quest rewards and the flow of quests from one section of the map to the other. For Alliance characters I generally prefer the Human or Draenei areas for questing.
While doing the quests in these areas there are two things that I put a particular effort into besides the quests and taking the time to use any gathering professions I might have. The first one is to kill any beasts that drop materials that I need to level my cooking. Typically this is just about any beast (animal) in the game. The second one is to kill any humanoids or undead that happen to be in my path for the sake of collecting both currency (I always want to call it gold, but at this stage it’s all copper) and linen cloth which can be used in either First Aid or professions such as Tailoring and Engineering.
By using this method the quests in the area alone will level you either close to or over level 12. Taking the time to kill the extra mobs that are on your way back to turn in quests or moving to the next questing area gives you that much more experience starting out, more loot to sell for increasing your wealth, and more materials for your professions.
You will also find at the end of doing the quests in this area that you will again have a quest that sends you off into the next one. For Horde characters I suggest moving on either to the Barrens which are west of the Orc/Troll area, or to the Ghostlands (my preference) which are found south of the Blood Elf starting area. For Alliance characters I suggest Westfall as the place to be, but my limited exposure to Alliance leveling has only offered me one other choice (Loch Modan) which I did not care for.